By Steve Hansen

The new works in the Propaganda series continue the themes established in the Gods of Commerce series, but focus on the selling of ideology or “truth” rather than the sale of products. In the Gods of Commerce works, I concentrated on using pre-existing trademarks and logos that used mythology as a means of establishing a sales platform for current consumer culture and products. With the Propaganda series I have widened the net from products to ideology and the permeable nature of truth. The best efforts of painters, writers and graphic designers have historically been used to promote often diametrically opposed versions of “truth”. Like mythology or religion the version of political truth that becomes the most accepted, or the most popular in a society frequently reigns as indisputable; at least until the next paradigm shift.
The connection to Pop Art in this new work remains strong. I use images and words taken from actual propaganda posters from a variety of countries and put them together in graphically interesting ways. In some ways propaganda appeals to the lowest common denominator in any country in the same way as flashy ad campaigns or cartoon strips, they work best if the viewer reacts without thinking too much. The similarities between German, American, Chinese, Korean, Russian, and Japanese propaganda are amazing. Each country preys upon the fear of the other. Each country uses racial profiling to demean the enemy. Each country calls up patriotic fervor to defend the motherland and its way of life. Each country calls for the support of its citizens for the army and a common goal. In the 1960’s Andy Warhol used images of Chairman Mao as part of a wildly successful capitalist, market-driven campaign to rule the “art world”, thus creating an amazing and lasting bit of visual irony. I have revisited the consumerist vs. capitalist argument and enlarged it to bring into focus the irony of polemic truths living side-by-side on the same tea pot.

Steve Hansen detailed statement



Steve Hansen resume


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